Metro-East News

Homeless teen shelter gets boost from IDOT, state police

Sex for shelter, homeless young adults tell their stories

Two young adults, 23 and 24, talk about being homeless, having kids, and struggling to find help. They asked that their names not be used to protect their privacy.
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Two young adults, 23 and 24, talk about being homeless, having kids, and struggling to find help. They asked that their names not be used to protect their privacy.

The head of the new Safe Haven Youth Center in East St. Louis was ecstatic about the donations she received Monday from the Illinois Department of Transportation and Illinois State Police.

Vickie Kimmel, the CEO of Safe Haven, said: “We got clothes and shoes suitable for interviews, sheets, mattress covers, pillows, bedding, comforters, mattresses, a washer and a dryer, detergent and toiletries.”

Kimmel said in all the shelter received 17 mattresses and 20 of each of the other items.

“I am amazed at how much they did. We usually get some donated items from one or two people. One person donated five mattresses, and we have had some donations from the Masons, and Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority donated some welcoming kits,” she said.

Kimmel said the local fire department in East St. Louis has given them the green light to start receiving youth, but the Illinois State Fire Marshal wants her to have a sprinkler system installed in the building, which Kimmel says will cost close to $200,000 “unless we can get it donated by the pipefitters and plumbers.”

Kimmel said she is hoping “to get our building grandfathered in.” She said the teens need to be off the street and in a safe place as soon as possible.

Carolyn P. Smith: 618-239-2503

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